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Authorities arrest Cocke Co. man accused of sexually assaulting teens

11:38 PM, May 20, 2013   |    comments
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Cocke County deputies said Richard Sullivan, 40, is accused of sexually assaulting two teens.

The Cocke County Sheriff's Office confirms that the man accused of sexual assaulting two teenagers has been taken into custody without incident.

On Sunday night, a 15-year-old girl told Cocke County deputies at Tennova Medical Center's emergency room that Richard Sullivan, 40, sexually assaulted her. Deputies said those allegations also involved a 13-year-old, who authorities said is mentally incapacitated. Sullivan was the live-in boyfriend of a relative in the 15-year-old girl's home.

"Unfortunately, law enforcement throughout the nation is encountering this more and more often," said Cocke County Deputy Chief John Carrell.

Deputies arrested the relative, Lora Gregg, 40, at the emergency room and charged her with child abuse and neglect.  She was released from the Cocke County Detention Center later in the afternoon.

Cocke County deputies learned that Sullivan was at a Rankin Hill Road home armed with a pistol and told Gregg he loved her and wouldn't see her again.

Deputies went to the Rankin Hill Road residence to arrest Sullivan at about 4:00 a.m. Monday. When deputies opened the front door, Sullivan shoved the door shut and locked it.

Since officials knew the suspect was armed, they called back-up and formed a perimeter around the residence. Authorities tried to make contact with Sullivan for several hours, but never got a response. When deputies went inside the home, they discovered Sullivan had fled.

The Cocke County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Department of Children's Services are conducting an investigation into the accusations against Sullivan.

10News talked to neighbors of Sullivan's Monday afternoon.  One person said she would occasionally hear Sullivan yelling at the girls from his yard.

Another neighbor, Frank Gossett, said Sullivan even shot his dog without cause.  Prior to Sullivan's arrest, Gossett said he was hopeful his neighbor would be taken into custody.

"I just hope they catch him for doing that little girl like that and bring him to justice," he said.

10News will present more details on the nature of Gossett's arrest as they develop.

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